Barbara Astman exhibiting in: Photography in Canada 1960 - 2000

photo of house with green shutters
text and photo of woman
Friday, April 7, 2017 - 10:00am to Sunday, September 17, 2017 - 6:00pm

Barbara Astman exhibitiing in: Photography in Canada 1960 - 2000

Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa,ON

Photography in Canada:

07 April – 17 September 2017

Experience the diversity of Canadian photographic practice and production from 1960 to 2000. Bringing together more than 100 works by 71 artists — including Raymonde April, Edward Burtynsky, Lynne Cohen, Angela Grauerholz, Michael Snow, Jeff Wall and Jin-me Yoon — it explores how the medium articulated the role of art and the artist in an ever-changing world, along with differing ideas of identity, sexuality and community. Formulated around themes such as conceptual, documentary, urban landscape and portrait, this exhibition celebrates the enormous growth of the practice, collection and display of photography over more than four decades.

Barbara Astman is a Professor in the Photography department of the Faculty of Art.  Her area(s) of expertise include Contemporary Photography, Digital Imaging, and Installation-Based Art.

Venue & Address: 
Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada 380 Sussex Drive, P.O. Box 427 Station A, Ottawa, Ontario Canada, K1N 9N4
1-800-319-ARTS 613-990-1985 TDD: 613-990-0777

Barbara Astman makes longlist for the 2017 Scotiabank Photography Award

Photo of Woman in black shirt, with red ping pong ball and paddle
Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 10:15am

Eleven nominees were recently announced for the 2017 Scotiabank Photography Award. The award winner will receive a $50,000 prize, a major solo exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto and have a book of their work published and distributed by Steidl of Germany.

This year’s nominees are:

Vikky Alexander, Vancouver, British Columbia, Raymonde April, Montréal, Québec, Barbara Astman, Toronto, Ontario, Valérie Blass, Montréal, Québec, Dana Claxton, Vancouver, British Columbia, Marlene Creates, Portugal Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, Donigan Cumming, Montréal, Québec, Nancy Davenport, Vancouver, British Columbia, Rosalie Favell, Ottawa, Ontario, Shelley Niro, Brantford, Ontario, Jeff Thomas, Ottawa, Ontario

Artists from across Canada were nominated for the SPA by a range of art professionals: Daina Augaitis, chief curator and associate director of the Vancouver Art Gallery; Mireille Eagan, curator of contemporary art at the Rooms in St. John’s; Heather Igloliorte, associate professor and Concordia University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement; Ken Lum, professor and chair of the department of fine art at the University of Pennsylvania; Patrick Mahon, artist and professor of visual art at Western University; Wanda Nanibush, assistant curator of Canadian and Indigenous art at the Art Gallery of Ontario; Jenifer Papararo, executive director of the Plug In ICA in Winnipeg; Brenda Francis Pelkey, professor in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Windsor; Jonathan Shaughnessy, associate curator of contemporary art at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa; Liz Wylie, curator of the Kelowna Art Gallery; and John Zeppetelli, director and chief curator of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

The shortlist will be announced in March, and the winner will be announced in May.

Last year’s winner was Suzy Lake, and previous SPA winners include Stan Douglas, Arnaud Maggs and Lynne Cohen.

Barbara Astman is a Professor in the Photography Department at OCAD University, her areas of expertise include  Contemporary Photography, Digital Imaging, Installation-Based Art.

For more information:,,6336,00.html


Barbara Astman, Faculty of Art, to participate in: Stare

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 5:00am to Sunday, January 22, 2017 - 5:00am

Barbara Astman, Faculty of Art, to participate in: Stare

From the collection

October 29, 2016 to January 22, 2017


Featured artists: Roy Arden | Barbara Astman | Bernd and Hilla Becher | Karin Bubaš | Dana Claxton | John Coplans | Denes Devenyi | Philip-Lorca diCorcia | Rineke Dijkstra | Patrick Faigenbaum | Larry Fink | Arni Haraldsson | Fred Herzog | Barrie Jones | Barbara Probst | Anne Ramsden | Mark Ruwedel | Reece Terris | Jeff Wall | O Zhang


Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art.

Venue & Address: 
The Vancouver Art Gallery
Poster for STARE, black and white photo of a hand plus exhibition text

Barbara Astman, Faculty of Art in "Portraits, self and others (it’s complicated)"

cropped photo of a woman in a black dress talking on a red telephone
Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 4:00am to Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 4:00am

Portraits, self and others (it’s complicated)

September 22nd and October 29th, 2016
Opening reception, Thursday, September 22nd at 7:00 P.M.

With the advent of the selfie and social media, portraits have become ubiquitous in contemporary culture. This has raised many questions about the nature of representing people in art. Many artists are now exploring the way in which identity is largely constructed through images and the complex relationship between the artist and the individuals they portray. This in turn raises important questions about how we define and visually represent “the self” and “the other” within the increasingly dynamic matrix of real and virtual social relationships.

This exhibition, which includes paintings, photographs, video and sculpture, examines diverse approaches to portraiture through the work of over twenty contemporary Canadian and international artists including: Stephen Andrews, Shuvinai Ashoona, Barbara Astman, Greg Curnoe, Colin Muir Dorward, Wyn Geleynse, Sky Glabush, Kirtley Jarvis, Jim Kost, Richard Hamilton, Jason McLean, Shelley Niro, Dennis Oppenheim, Gillian Saward, Becky Singleton, Gerard Pas, Jamie Q, Angie Quick, Michael Snow, Jeff Thomas, Joanne Todd and Joyce Wieland.

A highlight of the exhibition will be the first public display of internationally-acclaimed Canadian artist Tony Scherman’s recent portrait of former Western Chancellor Joseph Rotman (1935 –2015), the noted Canadian businessman and philanthropist. Rotman was the founder and benefactor of many successful organizations, including the Rotman Research Institute, the Rotman School of Management, and the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at Western.

Venue & Address: 
McIntosh Gallery Western University London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3K7
Tel: (519) 661-3181

Barbara Astman to show in Living Building Thinking, a group show at McMaster Museum of Art

Thursday, September 1, 2016 - 4:00am to Saturday, December 3, 2016 - 5:00am

Living Building Thinking, McMaster Museum of Art, curated by Ihor Holubiziky, Senior Curator, McMaster Museum of Art, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON         

This exhibition explores the development and trajectories of Expressionism from the early 19th century to the present.

Drawn from the extensive collection of the McMaster Museum of Art, the exhibition comprises almost 100 paintings, drawings, prints, books, camera work and video—from formative historical works of the 19th century, hallmarks of the modern age, to contemporary works that include Canadian artists who underscore the continuing relevance and challenges in today’s society.


Thursday, September 22 at 6 pm
Curator’s Talk by Ihor Holubizky, McMaster Museum of Art's Senior Curator

Wednesday, September 28th
Performance & Talk by Düsseldorf Artist Mischa Kuball
12 noon:  Mischa Kuball presents a performative sculpture with his recent Public Preposition book in front of the Museum
2 pm:  Mischa Kuball’s Artist Talk in the Museum

Saturday, October 1 at 1 pm
Tour & Linocut Printmaking Workshop
Free Culture Days event.  Registration required. Contact: Nicole Knibb at

Thursday, November 10th, 6 – 8 pm
Art Historian’s Talk by Robert Belton
Dr. Belton, Professor at UBC, will speak about Expressionism. His essay “Expressionism’s Paralanguage” is included in the Living Building Thinking publication.

An exhibition publication will be available.
Living Building Thinking is organized and circulated with the generous support of the Museums Assistance Program, Canadian Heritage.


Venue & Address: 
McMaster Museum of Art Alvin A. Lee Building University Avenue (at Sterling St) McMaster University 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L6
(905) 525-9140 ext. 23081
Photo of the Gallery with artworks installed

Barbara Astman, in "Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989"

photo of a woman with text overlay
Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 4:00am to Monday, May 29, 2017 - 4:00am

New AGO exhibition explores the experimental energy of the Toronto art scene in the 70s and 80s

Groundbreaking exhibition comes to life with film festival and experimental performance series featuring Rebecca Belmore, Jérôme Havre, Lillian Allen, Walter Scott, Louise Liliefeldt and many more

TORONTO — Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s was a city growing into its international status. Along with the city’s boom came the social and political upheavals of the era; the Spadina Expressway protests, bath house raids and fights over pay equity, multiculturalism and social housing dominated the headlines. In the midst of this, a new generation of Toronto artists emerged, pushing the boundaries of sculpture, painting and photography and exploring new ways of art making including video, installation and performance. This fall, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), revisits that complicated era with a wide-ranging display of artists and artwork. Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 opens on Sept. 29, 2016 and runs until May 2017, filling the entire fourth floor of the AGO’s Contemporary Tower.

Initiated by Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s Frederik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art, Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 is curated by Wanda Nanibush, Assistant Curator of Canadian and Indigenous Art. The title of the exhibition—a reference to the city’s many buried waterways—serves as a visual metaphor for the diversity of the art scene and its similarly buried histories.

Drawing heavily from the AGO collection and featuring more than 100 works by 65 artists and collectives, the exhibition will be accompanied by a live performance series, a film and video festival, as well as satellite installations throughout the Gallery. Organized thematically, the exhibition is bookended by two significant works from the AGO’s collection, General Idea’s The Miss General Idea Pageant (1971) and Rebecca Belmore’s sculpture Rising to the Occasion (1987-1991).

“In the tension between these two works—one a critique of the art world’s star system, and the other a deeply personal, politicized performance—we see how substantially things changed in only two decades,” says Wanda Nanibush. “Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, issues of democracy, race, gender, sexuality, and colonialism made real headway in exploding the traditional art historical categories. In this period we see not only a plurality of voices emerging but the very definition of artistic practice expanding, encompassing publishing, theatre, performance and identity politics.”

Punctuated by references to Toronto and its cityscape, the exhibition highlights the era’s preoccupation with ideas of performance, the body, the image, self portraiture, storytelling, and representation. The artists featured came from a range of backgrounds and generations, drawing on personal anecdote, humour, critique as well as familiar images of people and places to inform their work. 

Artists and collectives featured in the exhibition include Michael Snow, Joanne Tod, the Clichettes, Duke Redbird, Barbara Astman, Robin Collyer, Robert Houle, Carol Conde and Carl Beveridge, June Clarke, Ato Seitu, and Lillian Allen. This is the first time since the AGO’s reopening in 2008 that many of these seminal works have been on display. Exhibition panels will include texts in both English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway), acknowledging Toronto as the traditional territory of the Mississauga people.

Intended as an evolving display, many of the works in the exhibition are scheduled to be rotated in January 2017, inviting visitors to rediscover even more artists including Vera Frenkel, Jayce Salloum and FASTWÜRMS. Satellite exhibitions will be installed in the J.S. McLean Centre for Canadian Art and the Marvin Gelber Prints & Drawings Treasury. These evolving installations will draw connections between the exhibition on the fourth floor and other collections within the Gallery.

To mark the opening of the exhibition, the AGO hosts a free public opening on Sept. 28, 2016 in Walker Court from 6 to 9 p.m. Partygoers will have a special sneak peek of the exhibition that evening following remarks at 7 p.m.

In tandem with the exhibition, the AGO presents a dynamic six week-long series of free live performances, entitled Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries in Performance. A mix of new commissions and revivals, the series features artists Rebecca Belmore, Jérôme Havre, Walter Scott, Lillian Allen, Louise Liliefeldt, Keith Cole, Johanna Householder, Ame Henderson and Evan Webber. Rebecca Belmore and Jérôme Havre will create installations for Nuit Blanche on Oct. 1, 2016 and Lillian Allen will guest-program AGO Friday Nights in October, culminating in a performance in Walker Court by Allen and her collaborators on October 28. All other performances will take place inside Signy Eaton Gallery. More details, including a schedule of performances, will be posted on in the weeks to come. 

A film and video festival dedicated to Toronto’s pioneering video artists from 1970s and 1980s, coordinated in partnership with V-Tape and CFMDC, will run in Jackman Hall from March 9 to 12, 2017. More details, including a full schedule, will be announced in the coming months.

The exhibition is accompanied by the 128 page soft cover publication, Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries. Written by Nanibush, this richly illustrated essay is the second in the new AGO Toronto series, published by the AGO and dedicated to telling the story of Toronto and its artists. The book will be available exclusively in shopAGO as of Sept. 26, 2016 and is priced at $9.95.

Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 is included with the price of general admission and is free to AGO members. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario.



Venue & Address: 
Art Gallery of Ontario 317 Dundas Street West Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1-877-225-4246 or 416-979-6648

SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL Featured Exhibition Looking: Then and Now by professor Barbara Astman

image of a female figure dressed in black with a red paint tray and roller
image of a female holding red shoes with text overlay
series of images of a female in poses with associated text
Friday, May 6, 2016 - 4:00am to Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 4:00am

Barbara Astman pioneered the artistic use of both analogue and digital reproduction techniques. She is among the first to discover and explore technological practices and concepts—key signifiers in contemporary art. Merging technology with the handmade, Astman’s practice explores themes of glass ceilings, women’s issues, and how media informs current thinking.

Astman studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology, a hotbed of artistic energy in the 1970s, and emigrated to Toronto during the Vietnam War. Looking: Then and Now explores the artist’s 40-year career of photo-based media innovation. Much of Astman’s work involves the use of objects, including household wares or store-bought novelty items. Imbuing these objects with memories and histories, she dematerializes the material and makes personal the impersonal, exploring the role objects play in forming personal and collective histories while commenting on consumer culture. Astman was one of the first to utilize the Polaroid in her art, treating the medium more like a malleable, three-dimensional material than a flat, two-dimensional surface. Her self-portraits have been carefully choreographed so that her image becomes removed from reality, a symbol of constructed memory. Then, in a process of scratching into, enlarging, Xeroxing, or printing over, the photograph is further removed from a document, becoming closer to an object itself.



Venue & Address: 
Corkin Gallery 7 Tank House Lane, Toronto
416 979 1980

Call for Submissions: Propeller's Annual Curated Exhibition with guest Curator Barbara Astman

Propeller logo and brief submission details
Saturday, April 9, 2016 - 7:00pm

"Come Together" - Curated by Barbara Astman | Deadline: Sat. April 9th @ 3:00PM

Propeller's Annual Curated Exhibition with guest Curator Barbara Astman Exhibition Dates: April 27 - May 15

Deadline: Sat. April 9th @ 3:00PM


Propeller gallery presents our much-anticipated annual guest curated exhibition, now in its 19th year. Each year Propeller invites a prominent figure within the arts community to contribute their knowledge and experience in developing a theme and selecting works for a completely unique exhibition. This year we have the pleasure of hosting Toronto-based artist Barbara Astman as curator. The theme, Come Together invites artists to submit their most compelling work, exploring ideas around community and unification.

Curator’s statement:

The theme for the Propeller curated exhibition is “Come Together”. This is obviously based on the title of the well-known Beatle’s song from 1969. The song was written originally to facilitate building bonds and uniting as one.

I am applying those very words to the art community. “Come Together” makes the case for community both personal and public. It also addresses human attachment, love, intimacy, togetherness, human interaction and longing. I would like to see work submitted that takes this theme and runs with it, pushes it and expands upon it. I am not looking for literal or illustrative interpretations of community whether that is personal or public, but I am looking to be surprised and hopefully challenged by what you submit.

Since this exhibition will be taking place during Contact photography festival, it would be exciting to see some photo-based works that tackle this theme amongst the entries, but all mediums will be considered. I encourage submissions of time-based works, perfomative, audio and or text based works (maybe even photo-based work made without a camera). Artists should think broadly about the theme, I am looking for diversity in the submissions and work that speaks to your community, whether that be personal or public. I want to see what “Come Together” means to you and from there I will endeavor to create an exhibition/event that fully explores what community can mean on a broader scale. I would encourage you to think about not only the walls, but the windows, floors and the outdoor park across the street from the gallery.  There is limited space, but I challenge you to surprise and delight me with some outrageous ideas that can use the space in unique ways. Come together right now over me. (go ahead and sing it.)

-       Babara Astman, Artist.


Submission Requirements: 

*Name, address, email, phone number

*Artist Statement and CV

*One image per submission, with a maximum of three artworks submitted (2000 pixels on the longest edge @72dpi) please include accurate label information (title, date, medium, dimensions, value).

*Short narrative text to accompany work(s) (maximum 500 words)

*Video links will be accepted

*You agree to allow us to use your submission material, without compensation, in our catalogue/publication of this exhibition

*Submission fee: $45 CDN for the first entry, $25 for each additional entry (*please note, submission fees are non-refundable)

Important Dates:

Sat. April 9th: Submission deadline

April 23rd & 24th: ART WORK DROP-OFF – at Propeller Gallery April 28th – Opening Reception 6:30 - 9:30 May 15th – Artwork Collection Additional Information:

25% commission will be collected on any work sold as a result of this exhibition. For more information visit the gallery's website:

The artists whose work is selected will be contacted by email. Delivery instructions will be given at that time.


Barbara Astman’s work has received national and international recognition. Since the 1970s she has explored a wide range of photographic and mixed media. Her work is represented in many museum, corporate, and private collections, in Canada, United States, and Europe. Astman has degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology, School for American Craftsmen, and Ontario College of Art. Active in the Toronto arts community, Astman has sat on numerous boards and advisory committees. She was a Trustee on the Board of Trustees at the Art Gallery of Ontario and an appointed member to the Canadian Curatorial Committee at the AGO from 2009 – 2013. Currently she is the Chair of the Art Advisory Committee, Koffler Gallery, Toronto.

In 2008 Astman and AGO Associate Curator, Canadian Art, Georgiana Uhlyarik collaborated on a curatorial project for the Transformation AGO Exhibition, dealing with Joyce Wieland and early feminist practice.

Astman’s photo-based work was included in the AGO exhibition titled: Beautiful Fiction, fall 2009. In May 2011, her recent installation, dancing with che: enter through the gift shop, opened at the Kelowna Art Galley and toured to the McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, ON, MOCA, Calgary and MOCCA, Toronto in the spring of 2013.

She was recently in the two group exhibitions, Art Gallery of Ontario, Light My Fire Part I: Some Propositions About Portrait and Photography through October 20, 2013 Astman was commissioned to create a photographic installation for the opening exhibition at the Koffler Gallery, Toronto in November 2013 - February 2014.   Most recently, April 2014, she had a solo show at the McIntosh Gallery, London, ON, accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue.  Canadian Art Magazine had a feature profile of Astman’s career in the Spring 2014 issue.  In the fall of 2014, her works held in the collection of the Duetsche Bank, NY, were exhibited in Herland, 60 Wall Gallery, Deutsche Bank, New York City, New York.  Currently Astman’s’ work is featured in Look Again: Colour Xerography Art Meets Technology at the AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario.  In the fall of 2015 her most recent work, I as artifact, opened as a solo show at the Corkin Gallery, Toronto.

Please direct inquiries to: Nathan Heuvingh Gallery Director
Submission fee: $45 CDN for the first entry, $25 for each additional entry (*please note, submission fees are non-refundable)

Look Again: Colour Xerography

Black and white image of a group of visitors to the 1976 exhibition in Walker Court
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 4:00am to Friday, April 17, 2015 - 4:00am

The work of Barbara Astman will be exhibited as part of the Art Gallery of Ontario's new installation "Look Again: Colour Xerography - Art Meets Technology at the AGO".

In the mid-1970s several young Canadian artists embraced the cutting-edge technology of the colour Xerox machine. Six of them - Robert Arn, Barbara Astman, Flavio Belli, Michael Bidner, Michael Hayden and Jaan Poldaas - joined forces with curator Karyn Allen during an exciting two-week exhibition at the AGO in the fall of 1976. As an art medium, xerography made it possible to produce inexpensive copies of virtually any image or object. It allowed artists to play with images from the mass media, recombining or altering them for their own use. Visitors today will recognize this art form as a precursor to the pervasive circulation of digital images today.

This installation draws upon our rich archival holdings of Astman and Bidner from the 1976 exhibition.

Venue & Address: 
Art Gallery of Ontario / Musée des beaux-arts de l’Ontario 317 Dundas Street West Toronto, ON
Call us at 1-877-225-4246 or 416-979-6648
This exhibition is included with general admission.

Barbara Astman: It's All About Style

Event poster
Saturday, January 25, 2014 - 5:00am to Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 5:00am

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 25, 1:00 - 4:00 pm

An exhibition of works by OCAD U photography instructor Barbara Astman

Barbara Astman continues to explore the world of news media. "The style section is printed with super glossy ink, making the images stand out and seduce the viewer," she says. By juxtaposing the alluring colours and textures in collage form, she draws attention to the tactility of these photos. The lo tech, handcrafted nature of her work introduces a resourcefulness into the artistic process, inspiring her to explore the meaning and essence of the images through the materials from which they are made. These collages do not attempt to create logical narratives nor do they attempt to comment on the news of the day. Instead, Astman playfully harnesses seemingly disparate visual material, whose only apparent commonality is their appearance in the “Style” section of a newspaper, to create juxtapositions which comment on the proliferation of hi-fi imagery in modern media. Like her recent bodies of work Daily Collage (2011) and Newspaper Series (2006-8), It’s All About Style deals with the overwhelming saturation of – and our collective obsession with – the images we encounter in our daily lives.

Barbara Astman
It’s All About Style, No. 8, 2013
22 x 30 in.

Venue & Address: 
Corkin Gallery 7 Tank House Lane Toronto, Ontario